Sounding off: Autism struggle is real
In “Shedding light on autism” John Rosemond claims children diagnosed on the autism spectrum are often not legitimately autistic but only a “tad peculiar.” As a psychologist with 30 years' experience working directly with children on the autism spectrum, I find his claims to be misguided and likely to only increase parents' confusion and strife.
Practitioners work diligently to accurately diagnose, and, if anything, mild autism is underdiagnosed. A child with mild autism may appear only “a little quirky” without the casual observer knowing what's happening behind the scenes in the child's life. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders requires that “symptoms cause clinically significant impairment … .”
Parents seeking help do so for a reason. Even if symptoms appear only “mild” to others, their child is struggling. It's vital to ascertain the extent to which autism symptomology is contributing to these struggles and provide necessary treatment. Casting doubt on this process only hurts children.
Rosemond naively claims to have “done a good amount of reading on this issue.” Instead, he needs to spend a week with me and meet these children and their families.
John Carosso, Monroeville
The writer is clinical director of the Autism Center of Pittsburgh.
Thursday, Dec. 21
Take ‘X' out of Christmas
'Tis the season to celebrate the birth of our lord Jesus Christ. I know this may not be important to you, but I really get upset when I receive a Christmas card with an “X” in place of “Christ.”
Are we celebrating Jesus' birthday, or have we actually gotten to the point where we have forgotten him altogether? Christmas means a great deal more than just receiving gifts and having family get-togethers.
I just feel so upset and angry that people are so ignorant that they have to take “Christ” out of Christmas and replace it with an “X.”
Vincent Smith, Hempfield
Sunday, Dec. 17
Take a stand for truth
Where are the the discerners of truth? I am amazed that those who were deceived enough to vote President Trump into the highest office of the land, in spite of his lack of morals, are still not awake enough to truth to now take a stand against the damage he is causing our America.
The underhandedness is being revealed now in the present tax bill Republicans are trying to sneak through. It is hard to not be angry at those who had no discernment to know the lack of morals exhibited by this president would produce such bad fruit.
If we call ourselves decent, we must refute the corrupt practices of such a poor decision and take a stand for truth. We owe it to ourselves and the honor of our country.
Darlene K. Ryniec, Fawn
The writer is a retired United Methodist Church pastor.
Monday, Dec. 18
NFL boycotts are useless
Regarding “Steelers game boycott gets support at local veterans clubs” : While I understand what the clubs are trying to do, it will have little to no effect on the NFL.
Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell make in excess of $30 million per year. Does anyone honestly think a boycott, regardless of how many people participate, is going to influence players who make millions of dollars per game?
Unless the boycott directly affects the 68,400 butts in seats, thus cutting profitability and ultimately trickling down to the team and owners, these boycotts will have no effect. Let's not forget, 32 teams need to feel the economic squeeze.
As a retired command sergeant major with multiple combat tours of duty, I wish I could stomp a boot up these players' fifth points of contact because I believe what they are doing is reprehensible. However, I will defend their right to speak with my life because I did solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
A simpler solution: Leave the teams in the locker rooms during the anthem. Don't give them a flag on which to stand and belittle the symbol for which so many have fought and died.
Kelly C. Luster, Northeast, Md.
The writer is a Derry native.
Tuesday, Dec. 19
Hibiscus bust was excessive
The recent “bust” by the Buffalo Township police was both heavy-handed and unnecessary ( “Police mistook hibiscus plants for marijuana, arrested Buffalo Township couple, suit claims” ). A SWAT team with a search warrant? How about knocking on the door and talking with the residents?
These busts for “lookalikes” have been occurring nationwide and do not keep anyone safe. I have some uncut woods on my property, so if someone sticks a marijuana plant in there without my knowledge, or the ragweed and poison ivy look suspicious, talk to me, since we are on the same side .
This causes me to reconsider my stance against legalization of marijuana.
I was going to purchase some nice plants in Sarver but I noticed they had green, jagged leaves with flower buds, so will Buffalo Township police be tempted to stop me? Sound farfetched? Could be coming soon to a neighborhood close to you.
Jim Disantis, Freeport
Wednesday, Dec. 20
Issues with Qatar Airways deal
Regarding the article “Pittsburgh airport paying Qatar Airways up to $1.48M for cargo service” , the main questions are as follows:
1. Why is the Allegheny County Airport Authority paying any incentive of nearly $1.5 million?
2. Why does it pay $1.8 million for plane parts?
3. How does this deal help the authority improve its financial situation?
4. Why does the authority think state grants will be provided when Pennsylvania is at a deficit already?
From how I read it, Qatar Airways has nothing to lose, as the cash spigot has already been opened. If this is economically feasible for Qatar, should not Qatar in fact provide the authority with some of the revenues it receives for this service?
I would like to see monthly reports on how much tonnage and money is flowing out and what revenue (if any) is flowing in to the authority. If the revenue generated is not even close to what is being provided, why do it? What are the additional expenses incurred with plane maintenance?
This sounds more like a feel-good method of showing the authority is doing “something” to justify members' salaries without much concern for the average person.
Edward J. Baran, North Strabane
Friday, Dec. 22
Corporate tax cuts
Remembering President Kennedy's reaction to U.S. Steel's reneging on a deal whereby steel prices would not be raised after the steelworkers agreed to forego a pay raise (I won't use his quote), and the present business use of an adversarial communist nation for profit, one might wonder why the corporate tax cut in the Republican tax bill is not directly conditional on the number of jobs returned to America, the pay rates of those jobs, the real economic growth realized and some proof that the corporation actually pays taxes.
Considering our precarious financial condition, I am certain that our Republican friends, whose reliance on growth is central to their argument, would happily submit to such a provision.
Paul T. Smith, Sewickley Township, Westmoreland County
Saturday, Dec. 23